IIT Kharagpur team develops robot to identify and treat plant disease

Photo courtesy : Indian Institute of Technology, KharagpurPhoto courtesy : Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur

Team Careers360 | October 7, 2020 | 05:13 PM IST

NEW DELHI: Researchers at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur have designed a robotic system to protect plants and increase their yield. The robotic system is capable of identifying pest attack on plants and spray pesticide as per need, a statement from the institute said on Wednesday.

An innovation to accelerate digitization in the farm sector, the robotic system is capable of identifying the plant diseases through camera-captured image analysis. The robot then sprays the appropriate pesticide, as per the demand of the situation.

DK Pratihar, professor, department of mechanical engineering, the lead researcher of the project said, “Our device can detect the plant diseases using camera and its image analysis model the uncertainty associated with the human vision system and consequently remove it. This will help the farmers to detect the disease(s) correctly. Further use of such a device instead of manual operation of spraying pesticide will protect the farmers from related probable health hazards.”

“The serial manipulator will have sufficient dexterous workspace making it capable of spraying the pesticides from the top, bottom and various sides of the plant, which may be difficult to achieve utilizing the widely used drones,” added Alok Kanti Deb, professor, department of electrical engineering.

Tracked Mobile Manipulator

How it works

The robotic system consists of a tracked vehicle suitable for negotiating rough terrain, a serial manipulator mounted on the tracked vehicle capable of holding the camera, the pesticide spraying nozzle, a pesticide spraying module, and the camera-based vision module.

The robotic system is battery-driven one and once it is fully charged, it will be able to perform its duty in the field for about two hours. The robot will be operated remotely using buttons placed on a control panel.

“We will soon resume the final assembly of the robotic system and field testing as we are recovering from the present COVID-situation. We have further plans in the future to make this robot autonomous and intelligent,” Pratihar further added.

“If we are looking at a comprehensive development towards Atmanirbhar Bharat, the strategic importance of such technology development is profound. Most importantly such technologies need to be taken from the lab to the land,” said V K Tewari, director, IIT Kharagpur.

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